Promoting digital accessibility involves eliminating barriers that prevent students from fully accessing digital content, websites, and learning materials. Considering our recent shift to online learning environments, this issue has never been more important. Proactively ensuring diginital accessibility is an easy way to provide an efficient and comfortable learning experience for all students and reduces the need to make individual accommodations. However, it can be difficult to know how to get started. Below, you can find resources to learn more about this idea and built-in tools to help guide your practice.
Digital Accessibility Short-Course
This short, interactive course is suitable for all staff in the institution and provides a basic introduction to accessibility concepts and skills. It will cover methods that will help you proactively produce content that avoids accessibility barriers and provides background on the importance of accessibility that focuses on the student experience.
Blackboard Ally is a plugin for Moodle that automatically helps to gauge the accessibility of the materials you provide to students. It provides an accessibility score and offers clear guidance and tips for improving the accessibility of your materials. Common issues are texts that are not tagged for screen readers, texts with low contrast, and images lacking alternative text descriptions.
Ally also automatically creates alternative versions of your files such as braille and audio. This allows students to choose the type of file they want that best suits their needs.
Blackboard ALLY for Students
It is important, too, that students are made aware of this tool. Consider showing this video to your students at the beginning of your course, or pinning it on your Moodle page.